The Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Armidale-class patrol boat (ACPB), HMAS Albany, has successfully returned to the water as per schedule.

The development marks a crucial milestone achieved by Thales’s ACPB team in Cairns, which worked with the Norship shipyard and other local suppliers.

HMAS Albany is the fourth ACPB that has undergone major maintenance in Cairns over the past 18 months.

Thales noted that ‘on time’ undocking was achieved as 80% of the maintenance work was sub-contracted to the local industry.

According to the company, the milestone was possible because of the team’s hard work and partnership with local industry partners for the timely delivery.

Thales Above Water Systems (AWS) Capability Programs director Sarah Yuen said: “The development of the Thales ACPB sustainment capability in Cairns has gone from leaps to bounds and I am very proud of the Cairns team and what they have achieved.

“The extension of the high performing ACPB sustainment capability in Darwin has enabled establishment of the Cairns operation in a short timeframe.

“Building local relationships and local industry capability is of utmost importance. This was also accomplished with significant improvements in safety. The many lessons learnt will be documented and applied for future vessels in Cairns.”

This support from Thales’s ACPB in-house teams ensures maximum operational availability of the 12 ACPBs operating across Australia’s North and North Eastern regions.

The RAN operates the boats in support of Operation Sovereign Borders (OSB), a border protection mission led by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) aimed at combating maritime people-smuggling.

The ACPBs were commissioned and built for the RAN to provide naval support for civilian authorities in fisheries protection, custom patrols, and against illegal immigration.